Michael Breitung Photography

Photographing Colombia – Tayrona National Park

A visit to the Caribbean Coast of Colombia concluded our stay in this beautiful and diverse country.

To be able to photograph both sunrise and sunset inside the park, we also had to stay inside, because the park officially opens only between 8am and 5pm. Luckily there are a few options, most of them campsites at the various beaches.

Because we had a lot of luggage we wanted a hotel and this didn’t leave that many options. There are the beautiful Ecohabs, which were way above our budget. From the remaining options we went with the one that got the best reviews on Booking and this was the Yachay Ecohotel* close to Zaino entrance.

Considering the price it’s not a very good hotel though. All other places we stayed at during our travels through Colombia provided much better value for money. But in Tayrona you largely pay for the location.

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And here’s an important tip right away, in case you plan to stay at any place inside Tayrona: At Zaino Entrance you can buy water by the gallon, which I would recommend. Otherwise you’ll have to buy many little bottles of water inside the park, which is way more expensive.

Sunset view overlooking the Tayrona coastline

Tayrona Sunset | Prints Available
Equipment: Canon EOS 5DSR | Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS | Kase 0.6 hard + soft GND
Exif: f/11 | 19mm | ISO 100 | 1/6s + Exposure Blending

From our hotel to the first viewpoint I wanted to photograph it was just a half an hour walk. Playa Castilletes is a beautiful beach with a spacious campsite. If you want to camp inside Tayrona National Park, this could be a good option. The only reason you wouldn’t want to stay there is, if you want to swim. La Piscina and Cabo San Juan are the only places where you can do so I think. But those are also the most crowded.

But if you’re after a long beach and some beautiful viewpoints, then Castilletes is just right. At the western end of the beach I found the view you see in the photo above. From the viewpoints I visited inside Tayrona it provides, in my opinion, the most photogenic and dramatic view.

The funny thing is that I found this view only by flying along the coastline of Tayrona National Park in Google Earth. Because the typical photo research didn’t work very well. Everybody goes to Cabo San Juan to take nearly the same photos. This makes it hard to find out how the rest of the park looks.

And what I like to do, when visiting a new location, is to find viewpoints that haven’t been photographed that much. This doesn’t always work, because the most photographed places are often also the most photogenic. But it’s still a good idea to put in the work and explore other locations nearby. Sometimes you can find real gems, which you then have nearly for yourself.

Sunrise colors at Playa Castilletes in Tayrona

Playa Castilletes
Equipment: Canon EOS 5DSR | Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS | Kase 0.6 hard + soft GND
Exif: f/9,5 | 16mm | ISO 100 | 0,3s + Exposure Blending and Focus Stacking

In the video below I show you a bit more of the park and also a beautiful beach just outside of Tayrona. Because, if you want some Caribbean feeling, you don’t need to enter the park. Driving only a few kilometers past Zaino entrance you’ll get to Playa Los Angeles, where you’ll encounter only a few people.

* This is a Booking.com Affiliate Link. If you use it to make a booking, I’ll get a little commission from Booking.com

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